Forged in Friendship on Fire Island: LezVolley Turns 10

by FIN |

LezVolley 2021. Photos by Robert Sherman.

By Robert Sherman ~ The 10th anniversary LezVolley Annual Volleyball Tournament held in Cherry Grove on Saturday, Aug. 14, was an enormous success. With five courts and nets set up along the beach, the event was able to accommodate 220 players in the rotation of 25 teams. Attended by well over 1,000 spectators cheering them on, every team gave it their all, as the wins whittled down the numbers toward the climactic semifinals and finals matches. Co-founders Danielle Millet-Stanziale and Kristine Bungay confirmed that it was the largest, most well attended tournament so far.

Danielle’s wife, Johanne, was my liaison for the day. She was so gracious and generous with her time considering how hectic it all was for her as organizer, videographer, as well as player on her team, Danielle Presents.

The opening ceremony included the beautiful singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by renowned musician Marisa Corvo.

In the daylong series of rotating 20-minute games, and under sweltering heat wave conditions, each and every participant played with pure heart and determination. And the solid handful of highly trained players among them brought their A-game for those extra special moments of pure glory.

Late in the day the runners up were the teams I’d Hit That and Sandcastle, both losing in the semifinals. Then Scissors came in second in the finals, leaving Cherry’s as the winner of the day.

The team Gaywatch won the Fan Favorite award, aka The Love, Shea award – named and sponsored by the mother of Shea Carmen Swan, who passed away a few years ago. Shea was a talented photographer, a beloved member of the LezVolley family, and a player for the Stonewall team.

“Every year LezVolley gets bigger and better, and we are so proud of how the 10-year anniversary has brought in a new generation of amazing players and fans,” said Millet-Stanziale. “We are honored by the love and support, and feel and see the joy on so many beautiful faces. And that is the best gift we receive by this one day every summer.”

The day’s events were followed up with a high octane after party at the Ice Palace that went well into the night.

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